Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

Keeping a close eye on developments in the 2008 U.S. Senate races

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Who Is Your Ideal 2008 Senate Candidate?

[Cross-posted at my DKos and SSP diaries.]

As we look at the 2008 Senate map, and where we have pick-up opportunities, there are some obvious choices for who would be our best candidate, and there are some not so obvious choices.

From Sebelius in Kansas to Allen in Maine to Easley in North Carolina to a number of choices in New Hampshire to fewer choices in Idaho, there is much to discuss.

Who is your ideal 2008 Senate candidate? Who would you like to see run?


Colorado (Wayne Allard) - U.S. Rep. Mark Udall: he's all-but-in, so no need for the hard sell, and he's the frontrunner with momentum while the CO-GOP is looking to a potentially nasty primary

Kansas (Pat Roberts) - Governor Kathleen Sebelius: enjoys a 67-29 approval-disapproval as Governor

Maine (Susan Collins) - U.S. Rep. Tom Allen: one of only two ME Congressmen, he is routinely re-elected with 60+% of the vote

Mississippi (Thad Cochran) - Former state Attorney General Mike Moore: the most popular Democrat in Mississippi

Nebraska (Chuck Hagel) - Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey: a bright star on a relatively shallow bench

North Carolina (Elizabeth Dole) - Governor Mike Easley: already beating Elizabeth Dole in polling

Virginia (John Warner) - Former Governor Mark Warner: left the Governor's office with an 80+% approval rating


Alaska (Ted Stevens) - Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich: With Tony Knowles' electoral results statewide dropping from '98 to '04 to '06, it seems that Begich's star is the fasting rising among AK-Dems

Oregon (Gordon Smith) - U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer: a popular Democrat re-elected with larger totals each successive election, he seems to be politically preparing for a statewide bid

Tennessee (Lamar Alexander) - Governor Phil Bredesen: enjoys a monstrous 73-24 approval rating, while Lamar is at 53-36

Wyoming (Mike Enzi) - Governor Dave Freudenthal/Former Congressional candidate Gary Trauner: pretty much the only two high profile Democrats in the state at the moment; Freudenthal enjoys a mammoth 77-19 approval, but has indicated no interest in the race; Trauner came within about 1,000 votes of winning the At-Large Congressional seat in 2006

SEEMS LESS OBVIOUS (deep benches) - who would you prefer?

Minnesota (Norm Coleman) - do we choose the high-profile satirist, the millionaire public interest attorney, or well-known legislators?

New Hampshire (John Sununu) - do we choose the popular, young Mayor, the prominent activist, the progressive businessman, or the medical professor/former astronaut? An embarrassment of riches that not only should scare Sununu but also Gregg in '10

New Mexico (Pete Domenici) - several prominent Congresspeople and current and former statewide elected officials - just waiting on Domenici to make a retire or run for re-elect decision

SEEMS LESS OBVIOUS (slimmer or quieter benches) - who are your picks?
Alabama (Jeff Sessions)
Georgia (Saxby Chambliss)
Idaho (Larry Craig)
Kentucky (Mitch McConnell)
Oklahoma (Jim Inhofe)
South Carolina (Lindsey Graham)
Texas (John Cornyn)


Blogger VA Blogger said...

When are you going to accept that Mike Easley is not running for Senate?!localnews&s=1037645509099

You've accepted that Kitzhaber, Sheheen, Lynch, and Henry aren't running. Its time that you accepted reality that yet another governor has failed to be recruited by the DSCC.

11:51 AM, March 01, 2007  
Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

Kitzhaber, Shaheen, Lynch, and Henry appear to have given categorical No's. (While Shaheen and Lynch would walk to victory, the wealth of candidates in NH leave me feeling very confident about Sununu's lame duck status. Similar with Kitzhaber. I'll grant you that I'd like Henry to reconsider.)

Mike Easley, in the piece you cited, actually said:

Begin Quote:
Easley again said he has no interest in running for higher office in 2008, when he must step down as governor because of term limits. He has been mentioned as a possible candidate to run against Republican U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

"I think I would find the legislative process frustrating. I mean, it's frustrating enough when you're chief executive. I just don't think the Senate would be my highest and best use," he said.

But Easley seemed to leave open the possibility that he would accept an appointment in a potential Democratic presidential administration. He expressed frustration with a range of Bush-administration policies, including tax cuts and the war in Iraq.
:End Quote

Finding the legislative process "frustrating" isn't the same as a categorical No, no matter how much you may want it to be. Especially when all of Easley's comments are obviously geared toward indicating that he'd be very interested in serving as the '08 Presidential nominee's running mate! When Easley realizes that he may not be that high in the Veepstakes pecking order, then he may give a Senate bid a more thorough look, and either show interest or actually give a categorical No.

1:03 PM, March 01, 2007  
Blogger VA Blogger said...

We'll ignore the fact that no one in Oregon has even hinted at running against Smith, and focus on Easley:

"...the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, having failed to entice Gov. Mike Easley to run against Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole next year..."

"He continues to dismiss the ongoing speculation that he will run against GOP Sen. Elizabeth Dole as she seeks a second term."

"Easley has consistently dismissed a potential run against Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2008."

As for your comments, he has gone further than saying he'd be frustrated in the Senate. He has said "No". And he's not running for Vice-President. His remarks make it very clear that he has no intention to run for office again, including as a VP on a ticket. He's not a candidate for Veepstakes, he's a candidate for a Cabinent appointment in a Democratic Administration. Since he'd have to wait around until Election Day to find out if that will happen, that makes his entry into the race even more remote.

You can hope beyond hope that Easley will change his mind, but at the very least, accept the fact that it would require a change of mind--from a decision of "No, I'm not running" to "Yes, I will run", or even "I haven't thought about it" (a common deferral that doesn't indicate anything)--for Easley to be a candidate.

In the meantime, there are plenty of other candidates in North Carolina who may or may not turn it into a competitive race. But absent a top-tier challenger like Easley, Dole is likely to run for re-election, as she's already publically stated.

1:51 PM, March 01, 2007  
Blogger Ari said...

By the time Easley realizes that he's not high up on the veep list, it'll be too late for him to jump into a senate race. So, we gotta keep looking for a candidate in NC.

As for some of the other races . . . in Minnesota, I hope Rep. Betty McCollum ends up with the nomination. Franken and Ciresi already have too many liabilities. Plus, Franken isn't even funny anymore! He comes off as wooden, except when he's being a scold. DEFINITELY not the way to win people over!

And here's a choice outta left field, just something to ponder-- how about John Grisham running in Mississippi? He has been a state legislator before, and everbody knows that he's an expert on all matters pertaining to the law! Plus, he can self-finance, allowing the DSCC to spread its resources around more. And he has name recognition, statewide and national . . .

2:53 PM, March 01, 2007  

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